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ISLAMABAD: Senator Shahzad Waseem, the leader of the house in the Senate, said on Thursday the opposition is contradicting its own stance taken in 2016 against horse-trading in a meeting of the Senate Committee of the Whole.

Speaking at a presser here along with Shehbaz Gill, the SAPM on political communications said, in 2015, the House held a threadbare discussion on how to stop horse-trading in the Senate, but now the same people are opposing the same issue.

“Raza Rabbani was chairman Senate, Raja Zafarul Haq was leader of the house and Aitzaz Ahsan was the opposition leader and the issue of horse-trading was debated in the Senate on August 7, 2015, but the same people are not ready to speak on the same issue,” he added.

The Committee of the Whole met on 11 November 2015 and 12 May 2016. On May 20, 2016, the Committee of the Whole presented its proposals. These were unanimous proposals and no one opposed those proposals.

“This is the time, the PPP and PML-N should play their due role and fulfill their promise to ensure transparent Senate which could only be possible through open balloting,” he added.

He said the Committee of the Whole proposed that transparency in the Senate elections would not be possible without electoral reforms.

Committee also suggested that the names of the voters should be published on the ballot paper, and the vote should be identified, he recalled.

He said it is due to ‘double standards’ of these people who say something for publicity stunt but act completely different when it’s time for practical measures to stop horse-trading, adding, the ‘market’ is set up every time in the Senate elections.

He said Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto had signed an agreement in the Charter of Democracy to ensure transparency in the Senate elections but the promise was not fulfilled.

Their statements are on record in which they supported transparency of open ballot, he said, adding the PML-N and the PPP passed 18th Amendment but no action was taken on the issue.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) expelled its 20 MPAs from the party on allegation of minting money from the Senate elections back in 2018.

“The opposition is resisting open balloting system just because they want horse-trading and to promote politics of money,” he added.

Gill said the prime minister is committed to end horse-trading and use of money in the Senate elections once and for all, adding all-out efforts would be made to ensure transparency in the Senate polls.

The duo also expressed grief over the sad demise of Senator Mushahidullah Khan of the PML-N who passed away on Wednesday night after a brief illness.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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